Jack Conte

Jack Conte

 San Francisco, California, USA
BandRockAvant-garde

Multiple keyboards, guitars, jerry-rigged drum pads, and an occasional accordion, all glued together with thumping beats and in-your-face electronics. Grounded with a rock solid rhythm section. Think Radiohead meets Incubus.

Biography

Pioneering the Web 2.0 path that thousands of up and coming artists around the world are starting to emulate, Jack Conte has become a global sensation thanks to his popular series of raw and in-your-face “VideoSongs,” posted on his YouTube page (http://www.youtube.com/jackcontemusic). In just a few months the homegrown originals and covers, including a Radiohead/Chopin mashup and an Aphex Twin/Bright Eyes mashup, have received over a million views. The “VideoSong” medium, according to Conte, has two rules: 1. What you see is what you hear (no lip-synching for instruments and voice) and 2. If you hear it, at some point you see it (no hidden sounds). The result is a 3-minute split screen rollercoaster of multi-tracked audio and video, somewhere between a music video and a live performance.

Along with two popular EPs, he’s also released the VideoSong mp3s on iTunes and a debut music video which was featured on the front page of YouTube, instantly garnering hundreds of thousands of views, and leading to thousands of mp3 sales.

“I’m more interested in coming up with processes than with individual works,” Conte says. “I’ve found that if I work on a process instead of working on a piece, it helps me be more prolific. The VideoSong is an avenue for me to get songs out quickly without worrying about making a glossy, ‘perfect’ product. After my summer tour last year, I realized that the little imperfections and organic rawness of the live show were missing from my studio recordings, so I see the VideoSong as the ultimate ‘in between’ way to fuse what’s exciting about my live show with the conventional studio sound.”

Critics and fans alike are digging Conte’s revolutionary approach to recording music, orchestrated entirely with an arsenal of old school instruments, including a 1940s accordion, an upright piano from the 1890s, a ’72 Wurlitzer, a ’74 Hammond organ, glockenspiel, drums, and an array of synths and analog guitar pedals. Throw it in a pot and you get Nightmares and Daydreams, “editors pick” last year in Smother Magazine, whose review started some rippling buzz: “Well, world, watch the hell out! This kid is unbelievably promising. His songwriting ability is otherworldly.”

And the ripples became waves with Conte’s second release of 2009, Sleep In Color, which, by the time it came out, was greeted with over 16 thousand immediate views on YouTube.

When Conte performs live, as he did this past summer on a whirlwind 15 show, 16 day club and café tour of the West Coast (Spokane to Vegas), he stands behind what appears to be a cockpit of keyboards, guitars, midi controllers, and jerry-rigged electronics, perched next to co-pilot Ben Grant, who plays acoustic drums, handsonic, djembe, and an electronic drum kit. “The reaction from fans was great in the live setting and I plan to do a lot more touring,” he says, “but I’m grateful for the opportunity to reach hundreds of thousands of listeners across the world on YouTube. We’re in the middle of a music revolution, and it’s everyone that’s making it happen. It’s the fans, it’s the musicians, it’s the bloggers, it’s the programmers who write the blogging sites, it’s everyone.”

Lyrics

Hollywood Endings

Written By: Jack Conte

Go down by the shores of hope
where love flows and the ocean
floats. Go now, and I will meet
you there. We'll sing under the
cotton candy clouds. Something's
eating my stomach (that sour ache
is coming back again): those
pretty stories and sonnets. But I
cast those stories down the well
when I grew up not long ago. And
now I'm free from those infectious
fairy tales that plagued our plado
minds and wills. Something's
chewing on my brain (I'm leaking
dreams like piss, once again):
those pretty Hollywood Endings.
Someone's taking my clothes off!
("I promise you the sky! And the
stars!") Must be love! Oh, I hope
so!

Like a Match

Written By: Jack Conte

I took my head for its midnight
walk. No no I hadn’t been outside
in days. I kept the leash by my
side, but it wasn’t quite tight,
and I lost it. So now I’m
wandering the countryside, right
past the brothels and the
graveyard ghosts. And though they
call me quite clearly, I keep up
my pace, because they can’t save
us. Stuck in a space again, like
dreaming with heavy legs. My head
is made of Velcro, I can’t let go!
Let go! Let go! Let go! I
still believe in love, and I
believe in keeping my chin up.
And though we light like a match
and burn only an inch, I’ll take
it, yes I will. I’ll take it!
Such a precious instant, perfect,
unintended, and nothing there to
help us hold on. Hold on! Hold
on! Hold on! Hold on! So I’ll
love her like I loved my first,
I’ll laugh until my stomach
bursts, I’ll dream until I turn to
clay, and I’ll be okay. Okay,
okay? Okay. Okay? Okay.

Flavors

Written By: Jack Conte

On the eve of normalcy and stalemate we grab our shopping bags and put price tags on daylight, walk through the shadows, and sing songs of hope, love our companions with soul, skin, and bone. Mobilize. Forget about the edge. You can strategize but eyes can't stretch through time. And plans break like branches, like doors open wide. Like pupils in twilight begging for some light. Flavors come and go with the wind, but the memory remains like the taste is a stain. So why complain about being awake? If it tastes bad then spit it out!

Lonely Ghost

Written By: Jack Conte

And on this casket's back sits a little lonely ghost. He misses his old lungs and wishes he had his throat, those good old days! Daylight will wash away. It's going to fade, yeah it will fade, and the darkness will take it's place. It's going to come, yeah it will come, so I'm grateful for this consciousness oasis that paints the darkest carpet with a sudden streak of white. We burn so bright!

I will swallow it whole, I'm going to run, yeah I will run until my body breaks down. I'm filling up, yeah fill me up. Fill me up!

Don't look back: you'll turn to salt. So just march on, let moments melt.

I'm awake. Wake up! Wake UP! I'm awake, I'm AWAKE! And I'll never piss that away. Let's be loud, let's love, let's make some sound! Let's make some sound!

Discography

Nightmares and Daydreams EP
Videosongs Volume I
Sleep in Color EP

Set List

Hollywood Endings
Like A Match
The Greatest Hoax
Now That's Sacred
Carousel Waltz
We Grew Up So Well
Passenger Seat
The Way it Was Before
Lonely Ghost
Yeah Yeah Yeah
Eat
These Days
Push
The Giant
(other songs include Starlight, Unfrozen, and Tick Tock, from the Nightmares and Daydreams EP)